Republicans Take Over the State Senate After ‘Gang’ Members Defect

ALBANY—The State Senate has fallen silent after Republicans introduced a resolution electing Pedro Espada Jr. as temporary president of the

ALBANY—The State Senate has fallen silent after Republicans introduced a resolution electing Pedro Espada Jr. as temporary president of the Senate and Dean Skelos as majority leader.

Hiram Monserrate and Espada, both Democrats, apparently will vote with Republicans on the motion, and are doing so now in the midst of a procedural fight.

UPDATE: At 3:47 p.m., Espada was sworn in as president pro tem, and Skelos as majority leader. They called for an immediate meeting of the Rules Committee. All the Democrats but Monserrate, Espada, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Carl Kruger (the original, nominally Democratic "gang of four") are gone from the chamber.

John Bonacic is introducing new rules. "I am pleased to say that we've found two good men to step up," he said.

UPDATE: Espada just told reporters that he decided to cross over the aisle and support the Republicans because of the "quagmire" that had occurred since Malcolm Smith and the Democrats took over. He said it has been "chaos" and that he and Monserrate will form a caucus of "reform Democrats." For now, it will consist only of the two of them, but Espada said that there had been conversations with other members and that "the door is open to anybody."

UPDATE: Illegal, say the Democrats. Republicans Take Over the State Senate After ‘Gang’ Members Defect